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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Medieval 2 Total War Concentrated Vanilla 0.08

In love by Έλενα Λαγαρία from flickr (CC-NC-SA)

Time for another version of my Medieval 2 Total War minimod. It doesn't contain that many changes over 0.07.

The biggest change is fixing the "everyone hates you" bug I wrote about a few days ago. That doesn't mean everyone will love you now - but now you have the option of acting chivalrous, getting good reputation, and if you do your alliances will be more likely to survive, your enemies will be more likely to sign peace with you instead of insisting on silly wars until you destroy them and so on. The game still makes everyone hate you if you're too strong, or if you're playing on very hard difficulty, so don't worry about it being too easy.

Rubber swords bug

The second bug fixed is the extremely well known "rubber swords" bug. In Medieval 2 Total War units have between 1 and 3 weapons, usually 2. It's absolutely necessary for missile units, which need some sort of missile weapon, and also some secondary melee weapon in case they have to fight man to man. But many units have two melee weapons - most knights have a lance for charging and sword for close combat.

Like many things this all makes sense in theory. The problem is with pikemen. They have long pikes for fight in formation, and swords for close combat. Unfortunately their logic for weapon choice is pretty much the same as with knights and their lances - instead of trying to use pikes as long as they can, they switch to swords almost immediately after first charge. And with very weak swords, no shields, and weak armor pikemen make for really horrible infantry.

If it was just a matter of them being weak, it wouldn't be that big of a deal - there's plenty of weak units in game. The real problem is that they switch to rubber swords too early, and you don't see any pike action at all! Removing their "rubber swords" completely makes them much stronger, and behave properly.

Now there's a valid counterargument, that is raised on Total War forums every time the rubber sword bug is mentioned - the game was balanced with rubber sword behaviour, Pikemen are extremely cheap, and so shouldn't be expected to be much good.

It has some validity - Pike Militia costs only 150 florins, half as much as Town Militia at 290, so making them into some sort of super-unit would unbalance the game. Recruitment costs are only meaningful in battle mode (that is mostly multiplayer). In campaign mode, cost of an unit is cost of its recruitment, upkeep over multiple turns, and of buildings necessary to recruit the unit.

Compare scenarios of building required buildings (other than basic things like walls and barracks up to city watch and you need anyway), recruiting 10 (for vanilla, or 15 for mod as buildings are 50% more expensive) units from it, keeping them for 5 turns in garrison, and 5 turns in field. Costs per unit would be:
  • Town Militia: 290 recruitment + 0 garrisoned + 625 in field + 0 only basic buildings = 915
  • Genoese Crossbow Militia: 570 recruitment + 0 garrisoned + 500 in field + 0 only basic buildings = 1070
  • Peasants: 110 +  450 garrisoned + 450 in field + 60 mustering hall = 1070
  • Italian Spear Militia: 460 recruitment + 0 garrisoned + 625 in field + 0 only basic buildings = 1085
  • Peasant Archers: 220 recruitment + 500 garrisoned + 500 in field + 120 bowyer = 1340
  • Peasant Crossbowmen: 220 recruitment + 500 garrisoned + 500 in field + 360 practice range = 1580
  • Pike Militia: 150 recruitment + 0 garrisoned + 625 in field + 960 militia barracks = 1735
  • Mailed Knights: 680 recruitment + 1250 garrisoned + 1250 in field + 0 only basic buildings = 3180
  • Lancers: 930 recruitment + 1600 garrisoned + 1600 in field + 2760 all stables = 6890
Recruitment costs are simply a tiny fraction of total costs! Now this depends on which building you'd build anyway (you always need walls; city watches increase public order, shipyards increase trade etc. so you might buy them anyway), how many units you're going to recruit from each such building, how long you're going to keep them garrisoned, and how long in field and so on. These are not definite numbers - but they should give you some idea. It's quite easy to spot the most overpowered and most underpowered unit on the list here - Genoese Crossbow Militia is as cheap as Peasants, but they're ridiculously stronger - it's one of the best missile units in game versus absolutely the worst unit in game!

So anyway, I did some experimenting with pikemen. I've heard about two solutions on Total War forums - either remove their secondary weapons, or make their formations tighter. I made two AIs fight each other - 3 Pike Militia versus 3 Italian Speak Militia. Results were:
  • Normal Pike Militia - lost, 86% dead vs 37% dead
  • Tight formation - lost, 83% dead vs 58% dead
  • No secondary weapons - won, 66% dead vs 80% dead
  • Tight formation + no secondary weapons - lost, 88% dead vs 88% dead
The only reason tighter formations work is by making it harder for the enemy to get real close, and making pikemen use their pikes longer. Now AI was clearly unbelievably dumb here - happily charging on the pike wall. Manual results were:
  • Me normal Pike Militia, AI Italian Speak Militia - I won, 65% dead vs 89% dead
  • Me Pike Militia without secondary weapons, AI Italian Spear Militia - I won, 37% dead vs 85% dead
  • Me Italian Spear Militia, AI Normal Pike Militia - I won, 1% dead vs 20% dead
  • Me Italian Spear Militia, AI Pike Militia without secondary weapons - I won, 4% dead vs 13% dead

So properly used, Italian Spear Militia is far stronger than Pike Militia - properly used means flanking, and not blindly charging onto the pike wall. Nothing too complicated. Claims of Pikemen being overpowered without secondary weapons seem greatly overstated.

Scaling down previous changes

I decided to scale down a few changes. Cavalry no longer costs 50% extra - nerfing them was fun, but now that most infantry gets free upkeep in castles, and pikemen actually work, cavalry is decently nerfed anyway.

I reduced extra ammo for missile infantry from +100% to +50%. It doesn't really make that much difference, and I'd rather stay closer to vanilla values unless I have a good reason not to.

Full list of changes

Here's the full list for reference
  • Fixed standing bug
  • Fixed rubber swords bug
  • Castle garrisons free for basic infantry
  • City garrisons twice as big
  • King's purse x2
  • Rebel spawn rates 10x lower (supposedly, I have my doubts if it works)
  • Missile infantry ammo +50%
  • Bodyguard unit sizes halved
  • Building construction times all 1 turn
  • Mining income x2
  • Building costs other than mines +50%, mines x3
  • When defending a settlement, towers are activated from much greater distance
  • Wall and gate strength x5, but tower strength unchanged
  • Tower fire rate x2, but only for non-flaming ammo
  • Spy costs x2
  • Campaign movement speed +75%
Here's the download.


Anonymous said...

I just wanted to give a big thank you for your Concentrated Vanilla mod. Everyone else makes mods that slow the game down even more, I just don't have the patience to play a campaign game for a month.

Concentrated Vanilla improves pacing, fixes almost everything that bugs me in M2TW and improves on a lot of other stuff on top. I probably wouldn't be playing M2TW anymore without it.
Keep up the great work!

taw said...

Anonymous: I'm glad you like it.

Unknown said...

I had a look at my files relating to "everyone hates me" and it would seem that the occupy_settlement trigger/event is as it should be. Im running version 1.3 and if Ive understood you correctly then the whole segmenet to occupying has no ; in it. Does this mean that occupying should provide the right bonus ?

taw said...

David: 1.3 is broken, CitySacked segment should be totally commented out.

Unknown said...

The trigger and event are commented out for CitySacked, but im looking at the options for takign a city now and they are -

Occupy Settlement
Sack Settlement
Exterminate Population

these 3 which are slightly different to RTW and seem to correlate to 3 triggers/events in the file.

CitySacked surely is one of the legacy options from RTW that isnt in this game and hence will have no effect commented out or otherwise ?

I ask because having played all the games a lot and recently having bought Napoleon ive played them all and tried to decide which is best which do I most want to play which would I most want to do a mod for myself.

Pikes cavalry charges and seem to be the worst bugs but I think your post on pikes agrees with my sentiments that maybe modding out their swords and keeping them on pikes is the way forward. I cant quite get a handle on this diplomacy issue tho.

taw said...

David: Just copy this and you'll be fine.

Pikemen are bugged switch to rubber swords, on the other hand AI is too stupid to flank them or anything, so if you fix them you should nerf them a bit, otherwise cheapest pikemen will pwn everything (or not, plenty of other units are broken).

Unknown said...

Yeah I can see the change and what your saying, I just think it looks wrong. Ill test it.

Anonymous said...

can i install vanilla 0.08 with m2tw 1.0¿¿ thanks!

taw said...

Anonymous: I think you'll need to patch your m2tw all the way to 1.3. Patches are available for both legal and pirate versions ;-)

Linus said...

I am creating my own mod based off of the adjustment values from Concentrated Vanilla (thank you for bringing sanity to this game). Anyway, I noticed that your changes (bad regexes?) on halving general's bodyguard units affected some units (namely Saxon_Bodyguard and Dismounted_NE_Bodyguard) without reducing their costs by 1/2. Oh, and you forgot to reduce the costs for the Aztec_Bodyguard unit as well.

Linus said...

Oh, and you mentioned in your post on Concentrated Vanilla 0.07, "Basic infantry is one with morale up to 5, and cost up to 155." So do you mean

(morale <= 5 OR cost <= 155)


Because if it's AND, then that 155 is a typo...

Linus said...

Oh, and I just noticed that you gave free upkeep to Venetian Heavy Infantry --- was this intentional?

taw said...

Linus: Yes, I might have made such mistakes. I've been trying fairly large adjustments, without considering how they affect less common units like non-cavalry bodyguards and Venetian Heavy Infantry.

If you've found the problem, and it affects only a few units, just fix it manually. :-)

Zaber said...

Mate, I'm new to this stuff, so I'd be lelightet if you could explain how to make this work.. i downloaded your file, and pasted it into the "mods" folder in the game, but pikemen still seems to be unbearably retarded :3

Anonymous said...

how would you install this mod??

taw said...

Anonymous: If you have retail version, just unpack it in your Medieval 2 Total War directory, then use concentrated_vanilla.bat file to run it. Put all three things (concentrad_vanilla.cfg concentrad_vanilla.bat concentrad_vanilla directory) in the same directory as your medieval2.exe file.

If you have Steam version (fucking fail), you need to go to Steam, right click on Medieval 2 Total War, and set up as command line parameters:


Also, Steam version is fail.

Anonymous said...

thank you

Garrett said...

Oh, and you mentioned in your post on Concentrated Vanilla 0.07, "Basic infantry is one with morale up to 5, and cost up to 155." So do you mean (morale <= 5 OR cost <= 155) ? Because if it's AND, then that 155 is a typo...

taw said...

Garrett: I think it was AND, but I might be remembering wrong.

In any case recent versions of the mod no longer do this because AI never took advantage of it, and it was far too easy for human player to abuse it.

Anonymous said...

Thank you soooo much bro make my games more enjoyable